Thursday, February 9, 2012

Amy Lowell

Doing my research for other birthdays for today, I came across an entry for Amy Lowell. I have to admit I've never heard of her before, but found myself reading her biography and looking for some of her poems.

According to the Wikipedia entry for her:
She never attended college because her family did not consider that proper for a woman, but she compensated with avid reading and near-obsessive book collecting.
She gave herself the education she was denied because of her sex:
She put herself through a "rigorous" reading program, using her father's 7,000-volume library and the resources of the Boston Athenaeum.


Perhaps Lowell's poetry was not sufficiently recognized during her lifetime, but she did write more than 650 poems, and she is now acknowledged as the first American woman poet to see herself as part of a feminine literary tradition, reflected in poems such as "The Sisters." What her contemporaries did realize was that Lowell made things happen for American poetry through her own innovations and her support of other poets.
And, just in time for Valentine's Day, her poem Petals:
Life is a stream
On which we strew
Petal by petal the flower of our heart;
The end lost in dream,
They float past our view,
We only watch their glad, early start.
Freighted with hope,
Crimsoned with joy,
We scatter the leaves of our opening rose;
Their widening scope,
Their distant employ,
We never shall know. And the stream as it flows
Sweeps them away,
Each one is gone
Ever beyond into infinite ways.
We alone stay
While years hurry on,
The flower fared forth, though its fragrance still stays.


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